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Outage Refrigeration Guidelines

Keeping meat, poultry, fish and eggs refrigerated at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and frozen food at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit becomes difficult when the power is out.  Here are the USDA’s guidelines for refrigeration and freezing.

REFRIGERATOR-    It will keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened.

  • Discard any perishable food including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers that have been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours.  (See Chart Attached)

FREEZER-  If the food contains ice crystals or is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, it is safe to refreeze.         

  • If Full it will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours if door remains closed.
  • IfHalf Full it will hold the temperature for approximately 24 hours if the door remains closed.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture.

                  Refrigerator Foods

When to Save and When to Throw It Out

FOOD

Held above 40 °F for over 2 hours

MEAT, POULTRY, SEAFOOD
Raw or leftover cooked meat, poultry, fish, or seafood; soy meat substitutes


Discard

Thawing meat or poultry

Discard

Meat, tuna, shrimp,chicken, or egg salad

Discard

Gravy, stuffing, broth

Discard

Lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, dried beef

Discard

Pizza – with any topping

Discard

Canned hams labeled "Keep Refrigerated"

Discard

Canned meats and fish, opened

Discard

CHEESE
Soft Cheeses: blue/bleu, Roquefort, Brie, Camembert, cottage, cream, Edam, Monterey Jack, ricotta, mozzarella, Muenster, Neufchatel, queso blanco, queso fresco


Discard

Hard Cheeses: Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, provolone, Romano

Safe

Processed Cheeses

Safe

Shredded Cheeses

Discard

Low-fat Cheeses

Discard

Grated Parmesan, Romano, or combination (in can or jar)

Safe

DAIRY
Milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, yogurt, eggnog, soy milk


Discard

Butter, margarine

Safe

Baby formula, opened

Discard

EGGS
Fresh eggs, hard-cooked in shell, egg dishes, egg products


Discard

Custards and puddings

Discard

CASSEROLES, SOUPS, STEWS

Discard

FRUITS
Fresh fruits, cut


Discard

Fruit juices, opened

Safe

Canned fruits, opened

Safe

Fresh fruits, coconut, raisins, dried fruits, candied fruits, dates

Safe

SAUCES, SPREADS, JAMS
Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce, horseradish


Discard if above 50 °F for over 8 hrs.

Peanut butter

Safe

Jelly, relish, taco sauce, mustard, catsup, olives, pickles

Safe

Worcestershire, soy, barbecue, Hoisin sauces

Safe

Fish sauces (oyster sauce)

Discard

Opened vinegar-based dressings

Safe

Opened creamy-based dressings

Discard

Spaghetti sauce, opened jar

Discard

BREAD, CAKES, COOKIES,PASTA, GRAINS
Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillas


Safe

Refrigerator biscuits,rolls, cookie dough

Discard

Cooked pasta, rice, potatoes

Discard

Pasta salads with mayonnaise or vinaigrette

Discard

Fresh pasta

Discard

Cheesecake

Discard

Breakfast foods –waffles, pancakes, bagels

Safe

PIES, PASTRY
Pastries, cream filled


Discard

Pies – custard,cheese filled, or chiffon; quiche

Discard

Pies, fruit

Safe

VEGETABLES
Fresh mushrooms, herbs, spices


Safe

Greens, pre-cut, pre-washed, packaged

Discard

Vegetables, raw

Safe

Vegetables, cooked; tofu

Discard

Vegetable juice, opened

Discard

Baked potatoes

Discard

Commercial garlic in oil

Discard

Potato Salad

Discard

                      Frozen Foods

When to Save and When To Throw It Out

FOOD

Still contains ice crystals and feels as cold as if refrigerated

Thawed.
Held above 40 °F for over 2 hours

MEAT, POULTRY, SEAFOOD
Beef, veal, lamb, pork, and ground meats


Refreeze


Discard

Poultry and ground poultry

Refreeze

Discard

Variety meats (liver, kidney, heart, chitterlings)

Refreeze

Discard

Casseroles, stews, soups

Refreeze

Discard

Fish, shellfish, breaded seafood products

Refreeze. However, there will be some texture and flavor loss.

Discard

DAIRY
Milk


Refreeze. May lose some texture.


Discard

Eggs (out of shell) and egg products

Refreeze

Discard

Ice cream, frozen yogurt

Discard

Discard

Cheese (soft and semi-soft)

Refreeze. May lose some texture.

Discard

Hard cheeses

Refreeze

Refreeze

Shredded cheeses

Refreeze

Discard

Casseroles containing milk, cream, eggs, soft cheeses

Refreeze

Discard

Cheesecake

Refreeze

Discard

FRUITS
Juices


Refreeze


Refreeze. Discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops.

Home or commercially packaged

Refreeze. Will change texture and flavor.

Refreeze. Discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops.

VEGETABLES
Juices


Refreeze


Discard after held above 40 °F for 6 hours.

Home or commercially packaged or blanched

Refreeze. May suffer texture and flavor loss.

Discard after held above 40 °F for 6 hours.

BREADS, PASTRIES
Breads, rolls, muffins, cakes (without custard fillings)


Refreeze


Refreeze

Cakes, pies, pastries with custard or cheese filling

Refreeze

Discard

Pie crusts, commercial and homemade bread dough

Refreeze. Some quality loss may occur.

Refreeze. Quality loss is considerable.

OTHER
Casseroles – pasta, rice based

Refreeze

Discard

Flour, cornmeal, nuts

Refreeze

Refreeze

Breakfast items –waffles, pancakes, bagels

Refreeze

Refreeze

Frozen meal, entree, specialty items (pizza, sausage and biscuit, meat pie,convenience foods)

Refreeze

Discard

  

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